Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saul Mirowitz/Solomon Schechter Day School Collaboration

Our first conversations were basic. How old are your kids? What is it about your school that inspires you?

These simple conversations took enormous courage. The Saul Mirowitz Day School and the Solomon Schechter Day School had an eight year history of distancing from one another. With new leadership and a willingness to reach out, the conversation was ready to begin.

Quietly, my Board Chair and I met with the Board Chair and Head of Solomon Schechter Day School to get to know one another and begin a process to which we could not see an end.

The conversation progressed rapidly to hit the heart of the matter. Why do you believe it’s important to sustain your school despite the enormous effort it takes to raise money each year? Why not just merge our schools? And how can we save money and sustain both institutions?

Within six months of meetings, the two schools began to create a plan. The goal: to elevate the functioning of both schools, leverage our dollars, and sustain the philosophic and denominational integrity of each institution. The results: a collaborative atmosphere among the day school community, a willingness to reach out, and a potentially exemplary model for other institutions.

As we move forward, we find that the hardest work has just begun. Now we need to make difficult decisions together, come to agreement, and carve out time from the work of running schools to put our plan into action.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Steps in Integration of Technology

FIRST STEPS in INTEGRATION OF TECHNOLOGY

As one of the recipients of the Avi Chai Cost Savings Grants the South Palm Beach County's three Jewish Day Schools, Donna Klein Jewish Academy, Hillel Day School of Boca Raton and Weinbaum Yeshiva High School have hired a Shared Technology Integration Specialist, Kathie Yuz, who will work on integrating curriculum development with an emphasis on Judaica.

Kathie Yuz is a technology specialist who worked at CAJE-Miami for the last 22 years and assisted the Jewish Day Schools of South Florida "to get wired for the 21st Century."

Some of the other areas that we will be working on improving and implementing are:

  • Assessing teachers knowledge and needs.
  • Design - Determining appropriate strategies.
  • Development - "The Lesson Plan"
  • Implementation - "The Lesson Checklist"
  • Evaluation and Redesign - On Implementing Technology
  • Creating a Shared Technology Vision
  • To Acquire and Budget for Consistent and Adequate Funding
  • Setting up a mini-district for joint purchasing.
  • Provision of consistent and reliable technology support.
  • Create an engaged community of schools.
  • Encompass Ongoing Professional Learning

This grant will impact close to 1,400 students and 220 teachers. As the 2009/10 academic school year approaches we are excited to embark on this project and look forward to hearing from our constituents and to sharing our progress.